The Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler AG has announced it will begin offering side-impact airbags on its 2002 sport utility vehicles and Dodge Ram pickups, and tire air pressure monitors on some 2002 SUVs and passenger cars. The roof-mounted airbags will be the first side-impact airbags available on a full-size pickup truck, according to Chrysler. The airbags also will be available on all Chrysler SUVs except the Jeep Wrangler, which is excluded because of structural limitations, according to Michael Berube, senior manager of safety planning for Chrysler. The curtain-style side airbags are designed to help prevent injuries in side-impact crashes, but they are not designed to provide protection in vehicle rollovers. General Motors Corp. spokesman Terry Rhadigan said side-impact airbags are already available on several of that company's SUVs including the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Tahoe and Suburban, and GMC Envoy and Yukon. Side-impact airbags are not available on any of GM's full-size pickup trucks. Ford Motor Co. plans to install as optional equipment side-impact airbags that also provide rollover protection on its Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer SUVs beginning this summer, according to spokeswoman Sara Tatchio said. Ford plans to phase in side-impact airbags "over time" throughout its SUV line, Tatchio said. Consumer safety groups say they are pleased Chrysler will offer the side-impact airbags, but they say there needs to be even more protection for SUV occupants, including safeguards against roof crush and ejection in rollover accidents. The Chrysler Group says it will offer a tire air pressure monitor on an SUV when the 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee goes on sale this summer. The system also will be offered on Chrysler and Dodge brand minivans and Chrysler 300M and Concorde Limited sedans, according to company officials. Chrysler is installing the tire pressure monitors two years before it is mandated by the 2000 Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act, known as the TREAD act. The legislation was Congress' response to last year's recall of 6.5 million Firestone tires that were linked by the federal government to at least 174 deaths and 700 injuries. Tire pressure monitors are now available on GM passenger cars. Ford plans to offer them on some 2002 SUVs. Both the tire pressure monitors and side-impact airbags will be offered by Chrysler as optional equipment. Chrysler said pricing had not yet been set. According to Chrysler officials, since there is some cost impact with both technologies, consumers should have a choice.